The Need for Moral Courage in Leadership with Thought Entrepreneur, Jon Mertz

Moral Courage in Leadership with Jon Mertz

Hi everyone, it’s Jenn DeWall and on this week’s episode of The Leadership Habit Podcast, I got to sit down with a very special guest. His name is Jon Mertz, and we’re going to talk about the importance of moral courage in leadership. He’s well known in his area of research, and I’m just excited to bring him to you. Jon is a speaker, he’s a collaborative strategist, a thought entrepreneur, a professor, and a researcher of moral courage. You’ll learn a little bit more about that on today’s podcast.

His work examines the tension-filled intersections of profit and purpose, business and society, and stability and change using a model of moral courage to guide thinking, decision making, and action. Leaders of today and tomorrow can engage with challenge, face change, resolve conflict, and activate the next era of business ethics, impact and purpose. I hope you enjoyed Jon and I’s conversation as we talk about moral courage, which is, I believe, an essential characteristic, a mindset and attitude or way of being that all of us can learn and will likely need throughout the next phase of our careers. Enjoy the conversation.

Meet Jon Mertz, Researcher, Speaker and Thought Entrepreneur

Jenn DeWall (01:31): Jon Mertz, who I would like to introduce you to, the audience. I am so excited to have you here. For those that are active listeners to The Leadership Habit, this is the first time that I’ve ever actually had family on the show. We have Jon Mertz joining us, and this is my husband’s uncle, but he is a, you are just a dominant perspective in the leadership space, so I love that I married into getting to know you, and I love that you’re gonna be joining us today on the podcast to talk about moral courage. But Jon, for those that may not know you the way that I do, would you go ahead and introduce yourself to The Leadership Habit audience?

Jon Mertz (02:16):  Sure. First of all, thanks so much for inviting me to join your podcast. I’m really excited to have the conversation here today. Yeah, so my background, I kind of look at my life in three chapters, I guess, at this point. So the first chapter, I was involved in politics. I worked in Washington, DC, for about eight years for a senator for my home state in South Dakota, and after two administrations decided that that wasn’t the career path I wanted to remain on. So went back to school and got my MBA from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas. And after graduating from there, my second chapter kind of unfolded, which was about 25 years in tech technology, both startups and large enterprise companies leading marketing and business development initiatives for them. My last company was a healthcare software startup, that I spent a little over 10 years leading the marketing strategy and other initiatives for the company. Chapter three started by moving to Santa Fe and also starting a doctorate program through Creighton University, which I just completed.

Jenn DeWall (03:31): Congratulations.

Jon Mertz (03:32): Yeah, I successfully defended my dissertation. And I’m also teaching two leadership development classes at the University of New Mexico Anderson School for Management. One is an undergrad class, and new this year, I’m teaching an executive MBA class as well. So that’s kind of my three chapters as they currently stand. I’m still in the third chapter!

Jenn DeWall (03:55):  I mean, I love it, and I’m excited to see how the third chapter unfolds. You know, you’ve been able to watch leadership from the sidelines in different industries, right? Politics, then going into tech and looking at it through that lens, anything that you feel like you noticed was a successful tried and true leadership principle as you walked and observed, I guess, your time throughout those three chapters?

Tried and True Leadership Principles Everyone Should Know

Jon Mertz (04:23):  Yeah, I mean, when last in DC, one thing that was ingrained in the US <laugh>, or during my time in different roles, there was don’t do anything that you wouldn’t want your mom to read about in the Washington Post the next day.<Laugh>. And I think that’s a good rule of thumb from an ethical perspective. So it keeps you on the right path as far as when people are watching you, but also when people aren’t watching you make sure you’re trying to make the best decisions and choices possible.

Jon Mertz (04:53):  I think the other element, you know, it’s kind of funny when I went into business, and the initial reaction before I got my MBA was, you know, you spent eight years in government when you know about business. But the reality is that process orientation and the collaboration through government applies extremely well to business. Whether you’re large or small, you’ve gotta work with diverse groups if you wanna move things forward in a successful way to achieve the outcomes that, that that you’re desired as a business or as a government entity. So collaboration, consensus building, I think is a key leadership skill that’s always been a part of my life, I guess, as well.

What Inspired You to Explore the Topic of Moral Courage?

Jenn DeWall (05:34):  Yeah. And I feel like learning that at a younger age, in the form of government, is probably one of the bigger ways for anyone to learn that. How do you unite opposing views or listen and stop and slow down to consider a different perspective? Jon, I’m excited to talk about the dissertation that you recently defended on the topic of moral courage! Out of curiosity, what inspired you to pursue that topic for your research?

Jon Mertz (06:02):  Yeah, it, it kind of evolved, you know, through the program, I guess, and so through some of the writing, I guess I’ve done through the years as well, I was very intrigued, well, intrigued first of all, I guess with kind of the generational shift that was happening back well, a while ago now. But as millennials were beginning to enter the workforce, there was a lot of negative articles about that generation. A.

And when I was vice president of marketing for this healthcare startup, you know, I was hiring millennials, and I wasn’t seeing what all the articles were saying, and I seemed like everybody was being more negative than usual as a younger generation was coming into the workplace. And what I saw was kind of the opposite, was not only the diligence in work but also the attitude that it’s more than just profit or making money. There’s a higher degree of purpose embedded in their lives and in their work. And I found that encouraging.

So that kind of kicked it off. And then it evolved also to looking at how CEO activism and employee activism was taking root where businesses and employees were, you know, raising their voices to try to correct or prevent issues from harming stakeholders, whether that be employees, customers, or others. And I thought that was also an encouraging sign. So that kind of, you know, evolved into looking at stakeholder capitalism and, in my opinion, social enterprises are kind of the best representation of stakeholder capitalism.

I mean, they’re for-profit entities that have an embedded purpose, whether it’s social or environmental, as part of their business model, so companies like Patagonia or Toms and others, you know, those two are bigger name ones that people recognize. But, you know, so that kind of centered my research and then adding had the, had this interest in virtues <laugh> and how virtues played a role within leadership. So adding the moral courage element just seemed to make a lot of sense, or it was kind of a good interdisciplinary look that I wanted to, wanted to explore.

What Does it Mean to Have Moral Courage?

Jenn DeWall (08:15):  I love that. And I feel like even just virtues, like you really probably see that in action probably in the earlier part of your career in government, of how we make decisions based on our values or obviously the impact to our stakeholders or those that elected us. So let’s, you know, let’s level set. I love the inspiration. We, and I also love that you drew some inspiration around that shift that millennials brought into the workplace towards a little bit more purpose-driven work and how we can use that. But let’s look at, let’s start with the basics of your dissertation. How do you define moral courage? What is moral courage? What does it mean to have moral courage?

Jon Mertz (08:53):  Yeah, there’s, you know, various academic elements to it, but my research kind of validated or made it more practical, but it really is looking at when there’s impending values or emotions involved in the decision but being willing to act on those with a connection to what the outcome is, a compassionate connection to that and being willing to engage and make those tough decisions. And it really became kind of more than that, I guess, through the research and that if you’re gonna do it right, you have to be unafraid to embrace different perspectives and, and experiences especially those that may be impacted by the decision that you’re about to make. So I think, you know, kind of the key words, I guess are the willingness to make <laugh> those tough choices. But it’s embracing those tensions around the, you know, the virtues or the emotions that are part of that decision.

Jenn DeWall (09:52):  Yeah. Well, and that’s tough, right? Talking about how do we make decisions or how do we amplify our voice, especially if it’s not the loudest voice in the room, or the most popular perspective. Where do you see either leaders, where do you see leaders struggle with moral courage? Are there any particular areas that you notice that they tend to exhibit more or less moral courage?

Moral Courage and Stakeholder Capitalism

Jon Mertz (10:14):  Yeah, I mean, the lines I looked at was mostly, I guess, through stakeholder capitalism. So you know, the social enterprise leaders that I interviewed, they definitely exemplify using moral courage almost every day as far as embracing the tensions of profit and purpose and finding, you know, the right path forward or, you know, the business and societal issues that need to be addressed. I think one of the things that maybe to look ahead a little bit more that will be more interesting of how moral courage is exhibited, it’ll be today we read articles about bold capitalism or pushback against environmental, social and governance or ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) type issues. So I think more than ever business leaders are gonna need to find that moral courage to be able to speak up and, and discuss why they’re focusing on E S G or why they’re focusing on stakeholder capitalism and not get pushback by shallow and narrow arguments of just calling something “woke”.

Jenn DeWall (11:18):  Yeah. Oh my gosh. And I feel like that’s out there. It’s such an easy thing. What, but let’s talk about the consequence. What if they don’t, right? What if they’re like, I’m still nervous, I’m still afraid. I don’t want to go against this popular view or the view of this loud voice. What do you think are potential consequences that organizations or business leaders might face if they don’t lean into this moral courage?

What are the Consequences of Not Leaning into Moral Courage?

Jon Mertz (11:42):  Yeah, it’s more of, you know, looking at our society <laugh> and the outcomes there. So if business leaders don’t stand up, and political leaders too, you know, there’s gotta, you know, some a, it’s a mix, it’s a community effort. But if, you know, the things that are happening, our world are real, you know, whether it’s the, you know, the climate shifts or, you know, taking care of our environment, I mean, it never used to be that political of an issue, you know, when the National Park system started and things of that nature, you know, taking care of the planet that we live on seems like it should be a no-brainer. But in today’s world, there’s pushback on that. So, you know, it’s really looking at that, that societal benefit. I mean, it’s interesting because, you know, one of the reasons I’d like, you know, more focus on virtues is it’s more than just about yourself.

So values, you know, we, we kind of, you know, unfortunately, kind of mixed definitions of values and virtues, but values really are what’s important to me, you know, what’s important to an individual. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but we kind of become dogmatic in that, and that my values are right and yours are wrong kind of a thing. And that’s not healthy. Whereas virtues are more about, you know, nature or higher self, higher purpose. So it’s about us. It’s not about, you know, an individual. So I think, you know, kind of rambling off here a little bit, but I guess the relationship is that, you know, to make these decisions that impact our society, they do have moral implications and business leaders need to embrace that and understand that and be able, willing to stand up for those underpinnings of capitalism.

You know, not to get off too much off track, but you know, Adam Smith is really misunderstood. In that he wrote two books and one of ’em, the first one was The Theory of Moral Sentiments. And there’s a big moral philosophy that underpins an economic system. And we need to bring that more front and center into our business conversations and being able to promote more stand up for these issues that are important not only just for the business, but also for our society.

What Does It Look Like When Organizations Lead With Purpose?

Jenn DeWall (13:53):  Okay. I love this. And I was gonna say, like, what would it look like if you did bring that to the forefront? What would that look like if we were able to make that shift in organizations?

Jon Mertz (14:04):  Well, leading with purpose would be the first place. So the social enterprise leaders that I interviewed, they definitely lead with purpose first. And they understand, obviously the role of profit and every business leader does. And it’s important because that’s what funds and salaries and training and everything else, right? But, you know, purpose is first. And without with all of the leaders I interviewed, they really led with that. And so it is that purpose-first mentality. You know, one case, just to tell one story from one of the interviewees he, this individual came in to a situation where the company was never profitable.

But previous CEOs had focused primarily on the financial and economic side of the business and a little bit, bit less on the purpose. And so, as he took over in that role, he focused on the purpose first throughout working with employees, their customer base, other stakeholders and partners. And over time the company became possible for the first time. So it just kind of exemplifies that, the power of purpose that, you know, if you’re willing to make those tough choices, siding more on purpose than profit, that the profit will come and probably the longevity of your organization will too. Plus, you’ll probably have more engaged customers and engaged employees and other stakeholders to carry your business forward. Beyond that point as well.

Stakeholder Capitalism and the Next Generation of Leaders

Jenn DeWall (15:29):  I, you know, I love, I love that perspective because even 20 years ago, I don’t think there was a high emphasis on purpose. It was kind of, you know, do the job, help the company do what’s right for the company. It’s not about the impact that has happened. What do you think has caused maybe this shift where, I mean, and not to say that you’ve studied this, but in terms of millennials curiosity, why do you think that we have shifted into this place of wanting purpose? Is it because we want to create better communities and we wanna be more connected? Is it because of watching the recession and noticing that there’s a shift in loyalty to what companies are that now we want them to mean more? From your perspective and the work that you’ve seen and those that you’ve interfaced with, what do you think drew this interest in this, this new change in virtue? I guess because it’s not a value of like thinking about how organizations actually commit to a purpose of serving.

Jon Mertz (16:24):  Yeah, I think, you know, it’s Millennials and Gen Z both I think are embracing both those traits. You know, I think, you know, some, some of the things I’ve read, I guess that, you know, it’s definitely, you know, they’ve seen their parents go through <laugh> these challenges, right? You know, from nine 11 to the technology shifts to companies not being as loyal to their employees that they have in the past and, and obviously, now vice versa. So there’s more movement I guess, but I think there’s a greater, there’s just a greater awareness, I guess, that there’s more to life than just the pursuit of, of money. Obviously that, you know, not belittling that cause it’s important to yeah, provide for your family and, and your life and, and those types of things. And you need to get to a point, I guess, where you can do that.

But then, but there’s a balance. And so I think that’s the interesting thing. You know, even just with social enterprise leaders, right? It’s more about balance. It’s about, it’s not an either-or between profit and purpose or business and society or change in stability. It’s a, it’s really looking at it from a duality perspective in the sense that it’s an and so looking at both at the same time and then trying to figure out the best path forward. And so I think the younger generations are doing the same thing, right? They need to make money on the one hand, but they also want to have a better life beyond just that. So it’s taking both of those and figuring out the and path, you know, how can they achieve that you know, happy balance, I guess between making a decent living but also having a decent life. And that’s a, sorry, one more thing I guess maybe on that.,

Jenn DeWall (18:06):  I love it. Keep going. <Laugh>,

The Virtue of Living Well and Doing Well

Jon Mertz (18:09):  What I love about kind of the virtue, you know, aspect of it, it’s about living well and doing well, and that’s the kind of balance I see this those two younger generations really right. Embrace, you know, I think for, for me, you know, the older generation, you know, I probably, you know, didn’t have that balance younger in my life. But I think, you know, unfortunately, maybe as we, we’ve gotten older, we realize that, that the value of having living well and doing well is part of our life. And credit to Gen Z and Millennials, you know, they are mu realizing that much earlier in their career than I did.

Jenn DeWall (18:49):  Yeah. Well, and I feel like part of the reason that we realized it is just because we were almost forced to, the stability just wasn’t there in the same way that it maybe was for your generation. That’s one speculation, but yes, I, I mean, I, I should have also included Gen Z, but I, I love this shift because I just led a class for Crestcom two days ago, two days ago, and we were talking about even choosing who to work for. How do you choose who to work for? Because the majority of people in the class, and I know that I myself, have taken a pay cut to work for an organization that I better aligned with its purpose and passion and mission. And I know that I’m not alone. I am not, I am one of many that are willing to make these concessions.

Like, of course I need to make a living wage to pay off my student loan debt, wish we didn’t have it. But I also want to make sure that I’m working for a company that I align with their values. And I think organizations, I think for some people, that’s probably a head-scratching moment because we still may not understand why some people would be willing to trade off an extra percentage of money if they have the ability to do that, just to align with someone with purpose. But I do feel like your generation, we just, times were just different in like, the times were different that we were raised in. I don’t, because I feel like, what if I grew up maybe 20 years before I could see my dad’s pension? I could see, and I can understand the value of why you would stay, because you get that. I just never even had that potential offering. And the companies that even offer that today are very few and far between. I mean, I guess I could probably rattle off a few that even might have pensions anymore. But do you, like, do you feel like that’s true? I do think that Baby Boomers, Gen Xers might have chosen differently, but the world was just a different place.

Jon Mertz (20:39):  Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, there’s always gonna be, you know, obviously change you know, as much as some may wanna keep things the same, you know, it’s very challenging to, to <laugh> to realize that, I guess, or achieve that in any sense. So I think it’s. Hopefully, there’s a great awareness now just of how to embrace the change in a more positive way beyond just, you know, a self-interested way by looking at that bigger benefit of, for society. You know, it’s kinda interesting. I don’t know, in my view, I guess that you know, I’m not a generational expert per se, but you know, if you go back to, you know, even the sitcoms of the fifties <laugh> and the sixties, right? It was, you know, coming home at five o’clock, having dinner and spending time with the family, you know, that kind of thing.

And you know, during my generation, and yours as well, probably that, you know, it wasn’t eight to five, it was, you know, more like seven to seven <laugh> Yeah. On a good day, right? And I think, you know, in some ways we’re kind of returning back to that balance, I guess maybe of, of what was experienced in the fifties. I’m not, I’m not definitely, you know, not looking to turn back the clock at all, but just from a pure looking at a balance perspective and how to keep that not only about what you need to provide for yourself and your family, but then also what you need to give back to your community as well.

Jenn DeWall (22:05):  Yeah, no, and I love, and it’s turning back the clock in the sense of looking at how we can make different choices to support the communities that we live in, to show up for the families and the people that we care about in our lives. Because I think we did get a little out of whack where we weren’t paying attention to those things that are really important for a healthy society, for a happy family.

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How Can Leaders Embrace Moral Courage?

Jenn DeWall (23:32):  Jon. Okay. So I have to ask, how do you think if you’re a leader that’s sitting there and maybe, you know, it’s a particular organizational challenge or a business de decision that needs to be made, what would be the starting point to even start to flex the muscle of moral courage? How do we develop that?

Jon Mertz (23:52):  Yeah, again, for my research, it really begins with that sense of mission of the organization. So if they’ve spent the time to really define what that mission is, then center the decision-making process from there. And so if you don’t have that well defined and well communicated within the organization, you’re gonna start off from a, with a weak foundation. So that, that’s the, the, the starting point. And then I think it’s, you know, the really the next step then is really to kind of enhance our, our moral senses. And the way a lot of the leaders do that is by running to the edges. And by that means embracing perspectives and experiences that are different from yours and not being afraid to do that, you know, oftentimes we

Jenn DeWall (24:40):  So by running to the edges. So is that just saying, like running to one side of like, who might have a counterpoint or how do you define running to the edges? Just the opposite sides of views that you have?

Jon Mertz (24:52):  Exactly. Yeah. It’s kind of that edge perspective, I guess if you will. So it’s not the, you know, the, you know, the common ones that, you know, people would normally relate to. You know, one of the people I interviewed talked about you know, the words they used were a relevant colleague. What they meant by that was if somebody that’s impacted by the decision is not involved in the decision-making process, then the process is broken, go get them and bring them into the process. And so that’s part of the edge perspective is that we have to think about, you know, who’s going to be impacted by the outcome, you know and not just, you know, what we know but really seeking out what we may not know and embrace and really going out and talking to those individuals, understanding their story understanding the potential impact, and then bringing that in as part of the decision-making process.

So, you know, we have more, you know, heightened moral senses, but hopefully a, a more enlightened view than of the, again, talking about that compassionate connection to the outcomes. At least then we can begin to balance and understand those outcomes of our decisions. And so that’s really kind of the next step then is just, you know, we all know scenario planning, right? Think thinking through the different options and how things could unfold. But this is adding a moral lens to it and looking at the more outcomes of the different options and the different scenarios. And then, you know, like in, you know, most would do then is then looking at holding those differing outcomes, differing perspectives, imbalance at the same time, and then trying to find the common ground or the best path forward, and then being willing to make that choice in moving that decision forward. But in all cases, even after that choice is made, as new information becomes available again, they’re unafraid to make adjustments to that choice and, and based on the new information that’s becoming available. So being adaptive is a key part of the, there’s just the decision making process centered in moral courage. All that come comes into play.

Are There Difficult Tradeoffs When Leaders Embrace Moral Courage?

Jenn DeWall (27:08):  Everything that you’ve said is relevant to how we need to show up for the future of work. Even in terms of, I love how you talked about scenario planning, because historically it might have been, here’s the scenario, make more money <laugh>, and that would just be it. It’s like, what scenario makes more money? But in today’s world, if we’re applying moral courage, would that be, maybe we make less money, but we serve this community in a different way. We preserve and protect our, you know, workforce and not making a layoff or not making an increase here. Tell me an example of how scenarios might look a little bit different. I don’t know if you know any trade offs from your research that people have been making.

Jon Mertz (27:48):  Yeah, there wasn’t any specific, I guess, that we dive into, but it is about, you know, all, you know, part of it, what a social enterprise leader does is embrace change, right? They’re through their business, and they’re trying to drive some sys systematic change, whether it’s environmental, you know, you know, the product that they offer helps a population that’s underserved or whatever the case may be. So I think, you know it’s looking at that environmental or societal impact of those decisions because it’s a part of their business model. And so yeah, it may mean taking whatever, a percent less in profit or whatever, but if it’s returning 10% more in inter in positive environmental impact, then that’s worth the trade-off. You know, there’s larger companies that are, you know, aren’t necessarily social enterprises, but have a corporate social responsibility part of it. You know, as they focus more on some of the environmental or green packagings or focusing on their manufacturing processes in a more environmentally sensitive way, there actually are realizing a financial result, a positive one by taking those actions. And so, you know, we can learn both from the social enterprise leaders that are have that embedded as part of their business. But we also can learn from some of the larger corporations that are receiving an economic benefit by adopting more environmentally friendly practices as well.

The Importance of Compassionate Connection

Jenn DeWall (29:21):  Right. Well, and I feel like more and more people will vote with that. They’ll vote using their money towards the organizations that are willing to support sustainability or to give back. Okay. I want to go back to compassionate connection. What does that mean? What does that mean? What does compassionate connection mean? <Laugh>?

Jon Mertz (29:40):  Well, it really goes to understanding the outcome, you know, and the, and who it’s impacting, who it’s affecting. Again, one of the people I interviewed talked about open heart protected, and what they meant by that was, again, kind of that edge perspective type of thing that we’ve gotta be open to understanding those different perspectives and different experiences and what, who’s gonna be impacted by the outcomes of whatever decision that we make. And so that’s the open heart part of it, the protective part was not becoming self-defensive in that interaction which is so key. So it’s, part of it is honoring the current system that’s in place, but also with an eye towards how can we change it or evolve it to have a more positive impact. So I love that, you know, kind of phrasing, I guess, of open heart protected. Because I think that kind of exemplifies, I guess that compassionate connection. So it’s that openness, willingness to embrace different differing perspectives, honoring the current system with an eye toward how can we build capacity to change it to be better in the future.

Jenn DeWall (30:52):  I like the notion that you make towards honoring the current system because I think it, it pays respect for the business decisions, the choices, the methodologies of how people got to where they were. The world was different back then. There are different considerations now. And so it’s not about tearing that completely down or like maybe heavily criticizing and scrutinizing that it’s respecting what it was, what it was designed to do, and maybe saying, Hey, we can do something different. What do you, like, if you could go out and I guess, paint the world and give everyone moral courage, what would your world look like? What would the world look like if we made decisions with a stronger moral courage? Is it like, you know, coming at that local perspective, is it the global, like, would we be waving and like helping each other on the streets? What would that look like?

What Would the World Look Like if All Decisions Were Made with Moral Courage

Jon Mertz (31:45):  Yeah I’ve got two answers I guess for it. But one would look like we would get out of our self painted in corners of, of of how we view the world or, or putting ourselves in the corner that everybody looks like us or talks like us and has same similar experiences. So it’d be people getting outta their corners and, and getting out into the world and, and actively engaging and asking questions. One of the key phrases I heard over and over again was, tell me more. That was almost a, not just a question, it was almost like a mission. So it’s really that seeking that, that understanding. You know, my other kind of cheeky answer would be that, you know, growing up on a farm in South Dakota, when a neighbor needed help, everybody showed up.

Jon Mertz (32:30):  You know, I remember one of our neighbors his wife was having cancer and was struggling through that. The family was, and you know six or eight farmers showed up, up and harvested all their crops in one day. And so, you know, it’s that empathy, it’s that compassionate connection to somebody that’s, you know, could look like us, but also somebody that doesn’t look like us and jumping in and willing to help and try to improve someone else’s life in the best way that we can and are capable of within either what we do individually or, or what we do as a business.

Jenn DeWall (33:04):  Well, I love that example because I do feel like we missed that to some extent. We’re we’re, do you think it’s just because we have so much going on that we, for a method of self-protection, that we’re just, you know, heads down thinking about only how things impact us? How do you think we got here where maybe we’re not doing some of the things that we used to do?

Leverage the Power of “Tell Me More”

Jon Mertz (33:25):  Yeah, I think, again, it goes back, I think to a lot what I heard is that just really being unafraid to get involved in groups that are different than us. And, you know, we’ve gotta get out of our social media channels, <laugh> because all they’re just designed to heighten and keep us in our separate corners, if you will, and, and bicker back and forth. But when you get out into the real community and engage with real people, you know, that kind of dissipates. And by asking that question, tell me more, and leaning into their, you know, really developing an understanding of their story and more important than that, then if you are making a decision that’s gonna impact them and their story, you know, really understanding that rather than thinking you understand it. I mean, imagining you understanding it and actually hearing it and developing that narrative is very different. So getting out and engaging with those different than us is so critical to enhancing our moral courage capacity.

Jenn DeWall (34:24):  I love that! Cl that’s a perfect place to end and like wrap as a closing call to action. Get out there and seek to build connections with those that are different. Seek to understand or learn. And then of course, I love that recommendation, you know, just leveraging the power of those three words. Tell me more, Jon, how could our audience get in touch with you? I mean, I know how to get in touch with you, I know where you live but how could our audience get in touch with you? You’re, I know that you, you know, down the line you’re gonna have potentially different offerings that you’ll have, but how can they get in touch with you if they wanted to have a greater conversation and moral courage?

Where to Find More from Jon Mertz

Jon Mertz (35:00):  Yeah, probably the best way is my personal website, which is You know, I post, you know, not that often, but a little bit on LinkedIn, some thoughts on current events or news. So that would be following me on LinkedIn. We’d probably be a second way to do that as well. Sure. On Twitter, although not as much, it’s gotten a little messy here lately, so not on it as as much as I used to be, but anyway, hopefully, they’ll get it in better shape than what it is today, in my opinion. <Laugh>.

Jenn DeWall (35:36):  Well, Jon, thank you so much. Honestly, really thank you for coming on the show. I know we’ve been talking about this for a while and I think, you know, moral courage is an important topic that all of us need to lean into, and I love the utopic future of all of us coming together again. So thank you for inspiring that call to action for our listeners because it’s truly what leadership is. It’s building the communities that we live in and treating people like our neighbors and being kind. And so I just appreciate you sharing your message with our audience today. Thank you for coming by.

Jon Mertz (36:06):  Well, thank you, Jenn. Appreciate you hosting conversations like this with different people and and at all to helps make the world a little better as well.

Jenn DeWall (36:14):  Thank you so much for listening to you this week’s episode with Jon Mertz. I love the concept of moral courage and just even thinking through ways that I might be able to make greater impact. I hope that you are inspired too. And if you want to learn a little bit more about Jon and Jon’s work, you can of course head on over to his website., or you can connect with them on LinkedIn. You can reach out to ’em, get to know more about his research. Congratulations, Jon, too, on your recent accomplishment of your E D D. I’m so proud of you.

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